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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    New London, Ohio
    Posts
    57

    Default Will bees draw comb to the cell size of starter strips?

    I've been cutting some wax foundation that I had in a box and using it for starter strips so that the bees could draw their own comb. It just dawned on me that they might just follow the cell size of the foundation I am using for starter strips instead of drawing their own size as I would like them to.
    I'm wanting to regress my bees to 4.9, but the foundation I'm cutting strips off of is not.

    Any insights on this?

    thanks,
    --- marty ---

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,595

    Default Re: Will bees draw comb to the cell size of starter strips?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Daly View Post
    I've been cutting some wax foundation that I had in a box and using it for starter strips so that the bees could draw their own comb. It just dawned on me that they might just follow the cell size of the foundation I am using for starter strips instead of drawing their own size as I would like them to.
    I'm wanting to regress my bees to 4.9, but the foundation I'm cutting strips off of is not.

    Any insights on this?

    thanks,
    --- marty ---

    They will draw whatever size they want where there is no foundation starter strip.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    hinesville ga usa
    Posts
    380

    Default Re: Will bees draw comb to the cell size of starter strips?

    I don't think they will use it as a pattern, but I think just a wooden strip with a little wax rubbed on would do just as well. I use wooden strips on my TBH bars and I use Kelly Bee's F frames for my Langstroth which are only eighty dollars per hundred and they already have a starter piece built in. As for cell size, if they build their own comb they will build several different size cells though most brood cells will be close to 4.9 after they are fully regressed. My brood cells run 4.7 to 5.0 and they were started from feral stock four years ago and have not been on foundation since.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Liberty, Indiana, USA
    Posts
    167

    Default Re: Will bees draw comb to the cell size of starter strips?

    I buy the foundation less frames from Walter Kelley. I don't even wax the top bar anymore.

    They draw out mostly worker comb of various sizes in the brood area. This will be pretty uniform. Towards the perifery the cell sizes get larger and less uniform. If you are going to go with no foundation I would not get too hung up on cell size. You just have to trust the bees. It's working for me.
    Jason Bruns
    LetMBee.com YouTube

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    New London, Ohio
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: Will bees draw comb to the cell size of starter strips?

    Thanks for the replies, but I'm trying to find out if I use a starter strip made from old foundation will they use THAT cell size or draw THEIR OWN cell size. I have already done it this way, but don't know whether I should now go back and take all these frames out and redo them.

    thanks,
    --- marty ---

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    hinesville ga usa
    Posts
    380

    Default Re: Will bees draw comb to the cell size of starter strips?

    They will not use the starter strips as a pattern THEY WILL DRAW THEIR OWN cell size. No need to redo them.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Bertie County,NC
    Posts
    870

    Default Re: Will bees draw comb to the cell size of starter strips?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Daly View Post
    Thanks for the replies, but I'm trying to find out if I use a starter strip made from old foundation will they use THAT cell size or draw THEIR OWN cell size. I have already done it this way, but don't know whether I should now go back and take all these frames out and redo them.

    thanks,
    --- marty ---
    I have switched to foundationless and I have been using most with a starter strip. On the frames that I have done this way, they will usually begin drawing with the size that they are offered....but just as soon as they get off of the starter strip, they begin to draw whatever size they want....mostly worker brood in a natural size, but I have a few frames that they came off the starter strip with the size offered and then immediately went to drone size.

    Also...I have seen them completely tear the starter strip down and start with what they want right from the top bar. So what I am seeing is they make whatever they need in the open areas.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    1,595

    Default Re: Will bees draw comb to the cell size of starter strips?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty Daly View Post
    Thanks for the replies, but I'm trying to find out if I use a starter strip made from old foundation will they use THAT cell size or draw THEIR OWN cell size. I have already done it this way, but don't know whether I should now go back and take all these frames out and redo them.

    thanks,
    --- marty ---
    Calm down marty, sever people have said they will draw whatever size they want beyond the foundation. Ie those cells on the foundation will be the embossed size, those cells off the foundation will be of their choosing. I would not redo them if they've already drawn comb. If your that concerned do the ones they havn't touched. IMO not a big deal. Man people freek out way too much about their bees.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Bertie County,NC
    Posts
    870

    Default Re: Will bees draw comb to the cell size of starter strips?

    Quote Originally Posted by burns375 View Post
    sever people have said they will draw whatever size they want beyond the foundation. Ie those cells on the foundation will be the embossed size, those cells off the foundation will be of their choosing.
    exactly what I was trying to explain.....very well said

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    New London, Ohio
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: Will bees draw comb to the cell size of starter strips?

    Hey, thanks to all for the responses.
    I was actually just figuring that I didn't make my first post clear. No big deal. I really do appreciate all the responses.

    --- marty ---

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Casper, Wy, USA
    Posts
    806

    Default Re: Will bees draw comb to the cell size of starter strips?

    Hi Marty

    I've measured comb cell size in my top bar hive comb built by small cell adapted bees. The first cells at the top bar ranged from 5.0mm to 5.67mm. The majority of measurements were in 5.63 to 5.67mm range. The average was 5.64mm. So, typical large cell size foundation works great as a starter strip.

    Not so with unembossed and small cell size foundation starter strips. I've got some images and more details at:

    http://talkingstick.me/bees/starter-strips/

    Regards - Dennis
    I once wrangled bees. But now, I know better, so I do better.
    http://talkingstick.me/category/bees/

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    New London, Ohio
    Posts
    57

    Default Re: Will bees draw comb to the cell size of starter strips?

    Thanks, Dennis.
    I really appreciate your input.
    --- marty ---

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